(December 4, 2008) – As a part of Governor Martin O’Malley’s Maryland: Smart, Green & Growing environmental initiative, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) recently completed a $764,000 environmental project to restore more than six acres of forested wetlands at the Magness Farm in Harford County. The improvements will help improve water quality from highway runoff as well as provide a vital habitat for native wildlife, a high priority of SHA.
“The preservation of our environment must be our legacy to future generations,” said Governor O’Malley. “The planting of more than 1,600 trees and restoration of wetlands will help provide a natural filter to reduce the impact of contaminated water due to highway runoff. This effort also will allow the Magness Farm property to continue to thrive as an active dairy farm while protecting the headwaters of Deer Creek, one of many tributaries vital to the Chesapeake Bay watershed.”
The restoration of six acres of wetlands in the area provides a crucial habitat for amphibians to breed and survive. To protect the new wetlands from grazing cattle near the headwaters of Deer Creek, SHA incorporated cattle guards into the restoration plan. Cattle guards keep cattle away from wetlands and permit them access to different pastures without harming the newly created wetland and forested uplands. The Magness Farm property is located in northern Harford County east of MD 23 (Norrisville Road).
SHA funded more than $315,000 through the Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) and $398,840 through Environmental Preservation funding. Harford County contributed $50,000 toward construction costs. The restoration project began in the spring of 2008 and was completed in early-November.
The State contribution to this and similar projects is made possible through the Transportation Enhancement Program, which funds non-traditional, community-based transportation-related projects. The Governor determines which projects qualify for funding based on need and potential benefit to the public. Awards approved so far in 2008 total $11.6 million. The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration oversees the federal program, which has awarded more than $184 million for 226 projects in Maryland since the TEP program began in 1991.